Two weeks after the earthquake disaster in the Turkish-Syrian border area, the search work in most of the affected provinces in Turkey has come to an end. Only in the provinces of Kahramanmaras and Hatay will the search continue for victims, Afad chairman Yunus Sezer told journalists in Ankara yesterday.
A total of almost 47,000 deaths have now been registered, more than 41,000 in Turkey alone. But even if the Turkish media often speaks of the "disaster of the century", the true extent only gradually becomes clear.
In Syria alone, 8.8 million people are affected by the consequences, wrote the deputy UN representative for Syria Najat Rochdi on Twitter yesterday. Afad leader Yunus Sezer estimated that more than 1.2 million people have fled the affected region in Turkey. Over a million people are currently in emergency shelters.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US government is increasing earthquake aid for Turkey and Syria by an additional US$100 million to a total of US$185 million.
NATO is also involved in the relief efforts and is preparing to set up a camp with emergency accommodation for at least 4,000 people in Turkey. A spokesman for the alliance said that a cargo ship with 600 containers left the port of the Italian city of Taranto on Sunday evening. It should arrive in the Turkish city of Iskenderun within the week. According to its own statements, NATO is also currently coordinating an airlift for the transport of tents from Pakistan to Turkey.
Already more than 6000 aftershocks
In addition to the existential need and the grief over dead relatives, it is also the fear of the next earthquake that causes problems for those affected. A total of more than 6,000 aftershocks were registered within 13 days of the quake, the civil protection agency Afad said on Sunday. That's how many would normally be counted in four months.
A look at the bare numbers shows how extraordinarily large the affected earthquake area is in Turkey alone: According to information from the Ministry of Forestry, the affected area covers an area of 103,000 square kilometers and has a population of 13.5 million people. This corresponds to 17 percent of the total population of Turkey.
In the civil war country Syria, the situation was devastating for many people even before the earthquake. According to the UN, more than 15 million people previously needed some form of assistance.
People in Syria need help
And about two weeks after the tremors, not everyone in north-west Syria has received emergency aid. "We are still at the beginning and have not yet seen the worst," Muhannad Hadi, the UN emergency aid coordinator responsible for Syria, told dpa.
Since the disaster, more than 140 trucks carrying UN aid have traveled from Turkey to rebel-held north-western Syria. There, more than 9,000 buildings were completely or partially destroyed, and at least 11,000 people lost their homes.
On the morning of February 6, a 7.7-magnitude tremor shook southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, followed hours later by a second severe 7.6-magnitude tremor.